Schuette Calls on Congress to Change Federal Law to Make Drug Treatment More Affordable and Accessible

Contact: Andrea Bitely, Megan Hawthorne; (517) 373-8060

October 4, 2017

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has joined with a bipartisan coalition of 39 Attorneys General to call on Congress to pass legislation that changes federal law to make treatment for drug addiction more affordable and accessible for Americans who most need it.

The coalition of Attorneys General sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives regarding HR 2938, the “Road to Recovery” Act, describing the national epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse and overdose deaths, and stating: “… [W]e cannot arrest our way out of this problem, because it is not just a public safety challenge – it is a public health challenge as well.” 

“More people in Michigan died from drug overdoses than from car accidents in 2015,” said Schuette. “The ‘Road to Recovery’ Act will help those struggling with addiction gain access to treatment, and eliminate a decades-old Medicaid rule that limits high-quality residential treatment programs with proven records of success. We can’t arrest our way out of this problem.”

The “Road to Recovery” Act will help increase access to treatment for opioid addiction by removing a more than 50-year-old provision in the Medicaid program that currently acts as a barrier to residential addiction treatment.

The bill addresses the “Institutions for Mental Diseases” (IMD) exclusion which was created in the original 1965 Medicaid legislation to prevent the funding of large, residential mental health facilities, now has the unintended effect of limiting Medicaid funding for residential treatment facilities, which can be one of the most effective ways to treat drug addiction.

The “Road to Recovery” Act will remove the exclusion for addiction treatment facilities only. This will help open new avenues for addiction treatment while maintaining appropriate restrictions on mental health facilities.

The change in the law is supported by health care providers, insurers, treatment centers, governors of both political parties and the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Copy of today’s letter

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